Amnesia: When You Forget Your Life and Love


I’ve been through a lot of things in the last 30 years, and yes, I know it sounds incredibly cliche and probably quite unlikely. I never ever thought some things would happen; others were completely normal to me and even more seemed like a movie or soap opera (completely unreal and strange). Every one of these things has changed me and made me who I am today, I am grateful I can speak about these things and live a healthy life both in spite and in honor of them.

Almost exactly a year ago one of my worst nightmares came true. I say worst nightmare about several key fears of mine and every single one of them has happened in some way. I’ve arrived at a place that I’m fearful to even have a worst nightmare anymore (so I don’t!). My furry companion (and life-long best buddy!) passed away at the age of 17 as I explained in Cats Are Good for Your Health and that was tough enough.. but next I came face to face with an even scarier experience. My soul mate had a major health scare (an isolated siezure) which was followed by severe amnesia for the following two days. I was strong, I kept positive. The kids really had no idea because I maintained that everything was completely fine and that dad was just feeling sick. I helped him feel safe even when he didn’t really know who I was. I took charge of his health and comforted him when he was confused, hurt or overwhelmed. They said his memory should come back within a few days if not the following weeks or months. They said it should come back but they didn’t know when because they’d never witnessed such a severe case. I just believed his memory would come back even when I didn’t understand why. I believed he would be ok and his brain would be healthy. I believed he would again remember me, our children, our home, our life. I knew he couldn’t have a tumor or serious condition. I practiced the law of attraction and stayed positive.

His memory gradually came back over the following days and the whole experience became an invaluable lesson for both of us in different ways, something we won’t soon forget. I got the experience of knowing that if the love of my life didn’t know me and got to decide if he would choose to do it all over again, he would. He told me in his severe amnesia that although he couldn’t remember who I was or our relationship he knew inside that I was his soul mate. He said he had this feeling inside that I was the only girl for him. He knew that he wanted to marry me and he knew my nickname when contemplating for a long time in the far parts of his brain (even though he kept calling me Farah Fawcett–the sex symbol when he was a kid). What was humorous was when he told me several times he didn’t know me but he’d like to get to (hah!) and felt shocked and modest when I helped him find the restroom and stepped inside.

For him, he felt grateful in an unreal way. He said he woke up into a life he couldn’t have imagined in his wildest dreams and he hoped he could always remember how blessed he is even when he feels he is struggling. He saw all of the small and big things alike and how important each and every one of them are — how lucky many of us are but we forget because we’re so involved in our lives. When we came home he couldn’t believe this huge house was our home.. he couldn’t believe he lived here with me and loved seeing the photos of the wonderful times we shared. He DID remember Hobbes and he didn’t remember that he passed, so he got to mourn that several times over the days but he also got to know Calvin (as a kitten) all over again and felt grateful that this tiny feline wanted nothing more than to cuddle him.

We fell asleep that first night in each other’s arms when he still didn’t really know who I was and I felt incredibly grateful that no matter what he remembered I knew he was the only man for me.

To be continued…


(500) Days of Summer Discernment


“If you don’t like Zooey Deschanel, you’re incapable of love.” is a phrase that has shoddily fallen from my lips a lot, lately. Theoretically, this may have something to do with the following facts:
1. She’s my doppelganger, and who doesn’t love their second self?
2. I support everything Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for a Cutie / The Postal Service) does, and any friend (or in this case, wifey) is ‘okay’ in my book  and/or
3. I encourage rampant sarcasm.

Therefore, it seems only logical that I would be watching (500) Days of Summer over and over… And over… And over again. I’m fairly certain that there’s a cult devoted to Deschanel, and after the release of this movie, the members in which doubled, maybe even tripled in size. Unfortunately, I have yet to pledge my allegiance to actress/singer-songwriter by branding her face on my rib cage and learning the secret cult handshake, so if you thought this article was to be consecrated to her, you’ve been sadly mistaken.

What I would really like to share are all of the things I learned the third and fourth (..Fifth…And sixth…) viewing of romantic comedy-drama. The quotes that had stuck out distinctively, yet were so easy to over look. Like Twilight merchandise in a Hot Topic store. The little lessons embedded within the script that may or may not have been intentional, but will be interpreted and analyzed anyway (It’s your high school English class all over again. Did the light at the end of Daisy’s dock really represent all of Gatsby’s hopes and dreams, or was there just a light at the end of her dock? How do you know, teaching’ lady?! Did you have coffee with Fitzgerald or somethin’?!)

Tom: What happens if you fall in love?

Summer: Well, you don’t believe that, do you?

Tom: It’s love. It’s not Santa Claus.

Do you remember Santa Claus? Do you remember the whole-hearted belief that he existed? Ever got into a fight at school over his actuality? You never had to see him Christmas night, despite how late you may have stayed up, to believe that it was him who had put all those presents underneath the Christmas tree, but you were willing to fight for his honor. Don’t you wish you had believed in him just a little while longer, nostalgically wishing for that same whimsy every holiday?

Love is an awful lot like Santa Claus, it only exists if you believe in it. You won’t see Cupid’s arrows shoot through someone’s chest cavity, but there are literally millions of signs that prove it’s existence.  And we need to fight for the belief that it’s there, much like we had done with Old Saint Nick. What most older (cruel) children seem to forget when they crash our childhood down is that Saint Nicholas did exist, as does love. The only difference is that Kris Kringle was a mortal person, whereas love is an idea. A feeling. An indescribable occurrence, that will only live as long as we allow it to.

Most days of the year are unremarkable. they begin, and they end, with no lasting memories made in between. Most days have no impact on the course of a life. May 23rd was a Wednesday.

This was a quote with the kind of brutal and merciless honesty that cut me like a hot knife through butter when it collided against my ears. Imagine being on your deathbed and realizing that most of the days in your life were painstakingly monotonous. You woke up, you went to work or school, you came home. There were only a few special memories lingering in your head after your seventy,eighty,ninety years of life.

We need to find a way to make our lives mean more to us. We cannot keep spending  the majority of our time here interacting with a lifeless machine. We need to stop telling our friends ‘happy birthday’ on their wall as we say it on the right side of the screen and actually make the effort to remember on our own, make a phonecall. Social networking should not be synonymous for social gathering. Life is too short for these hollow friendships that are solidified with ‘likes’, comments, and ‘wall posts’ rather then actual conversation. Everything there is to know about me cannot be found on my page.

Paul: Robin is better than the girl of my dreams. She’s real.

To often I see girls and guys pass up their opportunity with an absolutely fantastic person because they’re waiting for someone ‘better’ to come along, who never does. We need to get over ourselves and get to know one another before we make any sort of judgements. There is no such thing a perfect dream guy/girl, everyone has flaws (and I don’t care how cute you think ‘awkward’ is, not everyone’s flaw is going to be ‘awkward’). We need to stop waiting around for some dream person, or some dream job to come up and sweep us away, or we’ll be waiting around forever.

Tom: People should be able to say how they feel, how they really feel, not ya know, some words that some stranger put in their mouth. Words like love, that don’t mean anything. Sorry, I’m sorry, I um, I quit. There’s enough bullsh*t in the world without my help.

This one is as simple as it gets: What are words if you don’t mean them when you say them? When you speak, speak from your own heart, as genuinely as you can.

Summer: We’re just friends.

Tom: No! Don’t pull that with me! Kissing in the copy room? Holding hands in Ikea? Shower sex? Come on! Friends my balls!

I really shouldn’t have to tell any of you lovely gals this, but on the slim and highly unlikely chance that this smidgen of wisdom skipped over you: Don’t send mixed signals. Be as clear as you can, as straight forward as possible. With relationships, at work, with friends. Misinterpretation can get ugly, especially when it’s deliberate. If you don’t know what you want, don’t act on impulse until you do. It will save you and a variety of people in your life a whole lot of trouble.

What about you? What are you favorite (500) quotes? Is there any reason why?

Young Drunk: Social Drinker or Alcoholic?


I didn’t just drink when I was young. I drank alcoholically, drinking as much as possible as often as possible, and getting sucked into every drinking game in the book. I drank Jungle Juice. I played beer pong. I did “kegstands,” which meant being hoisted upside down to drink directly from the keg’s tap, flipping my shirt up and exposing my bra in the process. Luckily, I was too drunk to care.

I “bonged” beers, sucking an entire beer down in a few gulps from the business end of a funnel-and-tube contraption. I played “power hour,” taking one shot of beer a minute for a full hour, drinking the equivalent of five beers in sixty minutes. I played “Edward Forty-hands,” a game where you tape a forty-ounce bottle of beer to the hands of everyone at the party. Once bound, you can do nothing with your hands until you’ve consumed eighty ounces of beer. This can get complicated, because you have to finish the drinks fast in order to free a hand to go the bathroom. Drinking twenty-one shots on your twenty-first birthday is a newer tradition, one I missed. When I mentioned that tradition to people my parents’ age, they were shocked, but it’s ingrained enough in youth culture today that my twenty-five-and-under friends just shrugged when I asked them if it was normal.

Binge drinking is officially defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as consuming more than five drinks within a single day. I first heard that during college, and I almost spit out my beer. Five drinks isn’t binge drinking! That’s a regular Thursday night. I wasn’t alone. More than a third of American college students binge drink.

I found it hard to believe at first, but fourteen percent of these drinkers have had ten or more drinks in one sitting. I had to verify those numbers over multiple sources to believe it. Ten or more drinks is a lot, so I was surprised that so many students admitted to doing it. Some take it to a deeper extreme: almost six percent will have as much as fifteen or more in an evening. Fifteen. That’s about a fifth of hard liquor. This type of drinking is known as “extreme” binge drinking, which sounds more like an X-Games event than a medical term.

Ten to fifteen drinks would be enough to get anyone wasted. I should know. I drank that much regularly. It’s definitely enough to make a 150-pound eighteen-year-old male vomit in his sleep, and could even be enough to put a 125-pound eighteen-year-old female in a coma. The first time I got drunk, I went to the hospital with a BAC of 0.36. I couldn’t have weighed more than 100 pounds at the time. I shouldn’t have been able to walk out of the hospital that night. I’m unbelievably lucky.

The more often someone drinks, the more her body will adjust to having blood laced with booze. That’s why I was able to drink more and more over time. I was proud of it. I could drink a lot of full-grown men under the table, and I liked to prove it. This is also known as building a tolerance, which is the same thing that can kill a longtime heroin addict. The amount of drug needed to catch a high starts to exceed what the body can physically handle. Binge drinking is one way to increase your tolerance, and after a few years of regular drinking, I was a pro.

I refused to admit that my drinking had gotten out of control. I told myself that bingeing is a symptom of alcoholism like nausea is a symptom of pregnancy. Not all pregnant women experience nausea, and not all nausea indicates pregnancy, so you can’t automatically assume that every nauseated woman is with child. She might just have the flu, or maybe food poisoning, or a migraine. Just because I binged didn’t mean I was an alcoholic. People who watched me drink didn’t think I was an alcoholic, either. They thought I was celebrating. Or maybe I’d had a bad day. They say, “I never thought you were a drunk.” Then they look down and sigh, “But then again, I was drinking, too.”

At some point during my downward spiral, I started to wonder if maybe I was drinking too much. I took an online quiz, trying to convince myself that I was just a youthful partier, that I wasn’t a problem drinker or an alcoholic.

NCADD Self-Test: What are the Signs of Alcoholism?

1. Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel
with someone? Yes
2. Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink? Yes
3. Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though
your friends say you didn’t pass out? Yes
4. When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others
won’t know about it? Yes
5. Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available? Yes
6. Are you more in a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be? Yes
7. Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking? Yes
8. Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your drinking? Yes
9. Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently? Yes
10. Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough? Yes
11. Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily? No
12. When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking? Yes
13. Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your drinking? Yes
14. Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or
cutting down on your drinking? Yes
15. Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking? No
16. Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking? No
17. Are you having more financial, work, school, and/or family problems as a result of
your drinking? Yes
18. Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking? Yes
19. Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking? No
20. Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a
“little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind? No
21. Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to? No
22. Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time? No
23. After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there? No
24. Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking? No
25. Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after periods of heavy drinking? Yes
26. Have any of your blood relatives ever had a problem with alcohol? No

I answered “yes” to sixteen of the twenty-six questions. That put me in the “serious level of alcohol-related problems requiring immediate attention and possible treatment” category. I took it again and got the same results. I took a different quiz the following week. And another a month after that. Every time I took one of those quizzes, the results said I should seek treatment for my alcohol consumption, but I still didn’t believe it.
I wasn’t a bum. I wasn’t drinking in the morning. I didn’t get the shakes or hallucinate. I called the tests bogus. I knew better. I was different from those people who can’t control their drinking without a support group and a chip that says how many days its been since the last drink. I thought I didn’t need help. I was wrong.

I don’t know if binge drinking caused my alcoholism, or if I was an alcoholic from the start. The culture surrounding alcohol in my teens and early twenties certainly made it easy for me to drink lots and lots of booze without being labeled a drunk. From the very first time I had more alcohol available to me than I could physically consume, I binged, to the point that I had to be hospitalized. No one else went to the hospital that day, even though we all got drunk. I wasn’t alone in my overindulgence, but I was somehow different. I was an alcoholic, but it took me ten years to admit it and finally get sober. I’m glad I did, because it saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t found the courage to say, “Hi, I’m Emma, and I’m an alcoholic.”

Positive Energy Project: Selecting, Cleansing & Charging Crystals

how to care for crystals

Selecting Your Crystal

  • Identify your purpose.
  • Look for a few crystal varieties that seem aligned in the area your purpose lies in.
  • Look at crystals and pick one that feels right to you or attracts you the most visually.

If you’re in-tune with your intuition and emotions pay attention to how you feel (happy, excited, drawn to it), if I’m instantly imagining the crystal on my nightstand or sitting on my mantel then I’m likely to get it.

amethyst crystal grid

Cleansing Your Crystal

Crystals are a mineral that absorb energy and hold onto it until cleansed. I like to cleanse my crystals when I get them especially because who knows what or who touched them and got absorbed and if I want to welcome that into my home.

I have read and heard a lot from people advised to do just about everything in regards to cleaning them so be sure to chose the method that makes sense to you.

For instance I really prefer sitting my crystals in a clear jar of salt water in the sun or moon light for a day or two but some crystals, minerals and pearls are too sensitive for such a treatment. If that’s so then I will light sage and hold them in the smoke for a few minutes, best outdoors, while letting it billow out and away. Be sure to sage yourself a bit afterwards.

A good salt water solution is about 20% sea salt and the rest water. If you have actual salt water then that is best! When you’re done soaking them, pour the water outside into the earth.

crystal grid ocean sandy beach

Charging Crystals

I charge my crystals in sunlight and moonlight. I sit them on a window sill at either time and let them charge for a day.

Sunlight re-charges crystals with ultraviolet light. When crystals are harvested from the earth they are removed from the energy they were nurtured in. The crystals have been taking energy and nutrients from the God and the universe via the ground providing nutrients to develop into a crystal. They now need to absorb energies for renewal. The full spectrum of light restores the crystal’s depleted energies. The moonlight offers and even broader spectrum of energy, especially a new or full moon.

angels aura crystal

Activating Your Crystal

Sometimes, a crystal can be asleep in a sense and not know it is going to be used for healing or meditative purposes. Making a spiritual connection with the crystal helps to awaken its consciousness. You can activate your crystal by holding it, praying while holding it, meditating on your higher dreams and aspirations while holding it, rolling it in incense, communicating that it is yours for comfort.

Because each crystal absorbs energy (like a magnet, just touch one) they can absorb new instruction. Sometimes the crystal gets filled up with unconscious instructions from people handling the crystal, unaware they are projecting energy thought forms that are picked up and stored (alas the cleaning when purchasing/finding). When we add our own energy and prayers the crystal will then resonate with that amplifying, broadcasting, and projecting the new set of energy patterns to ourselves, others and our environment (I most often use them to just enhance my environment or hold while meditating/praying).

The way I do this is the same way I cook, which is also a meditative, prayerful and reflective state for me in connection with God and the universe. I think about love, the things I love and value, affirmations to myself and my family (and even the world) and I imagine infusing these things into the food, crystal, candle, whatever it is I am working with. Then I feel the energy of that love and healing, the energy of my higher self, emit through the crystal, the smoke, the meal when we eat. Most often I visualize healing, protection from God and love as these are the things I most appreciate in our lives.

crystal grid

Where to Buy Crystals

There are usually stores that carry minerals, crystals or New Age-y materials in cities. We have a few here. However you can also find them on ebay and other online boutiques.

crystal cactus The Playful Soul Broadripple

Turning 30: Five Things I Learned in my 20s

30th birthday party

I remember once upon a time when turning 30 seemed a distant memory, not even a concern in the least. In my teens I remember talking to peers who said we were “old” now because we were graduating high school. I would tell them you’re only as old as you feel because I felt like I was 15 on a bad day (on a good day I feel 12). Most of my friends have always been older than me so I never concerned myself much with age and that it meant anything other than wisdom.

So tomorrow I’m turning 30. Today my partner says he’s planning something for me and that I need to be ready to leave for dinner at 5:30pm.

Update: David threw me a surprise party and I thought maybe it would be us, his mom and maybe my mom… But it was my family, friends and at my favorite place to eat (Saigon) and it makes me cry just thinking of how much trouble he went to… For me! I’m just in shock and tears as I write this and SO grateful to have these people in my life.

I’m just wondering.. how significant is it to turn 30? How do others feel about turning 30? Am I supposed to be preparing some big, bold change? Am I supposed to feel or act different? I don’t. I will tell you what I’ve learned by 30, though, and maybe it will help you no matter what age you are.

“You’re 30: You know stuff now. Your 20s were for ‘ducking up,’ as my auto-correct would say, and learning from those mistakes. (For instance, never again will I convince myself that sleep is for sissies and go straight from a party to the airport. You will not ‘sleep on the plane'; you’ll vomit in the security line. Go to bed.)” — Olivia Wilde

1. Don’t settle.

You’ll learn by now that settling to keep things nice now will not pay off. If you feel like your settling in your job, your relationship, your friendships, for something less than you feel is healthy and encouraging for you then you’re only delaying the pain of giving yourself what you need. Do it now, don’t wait another 30 years. If you don’t know what you want then take a few years to honestly find out what your purpose in life is.

2. Take care of yourself.

You probably stopped eating cake, dessert and chocolate for breakfast (unless it’s your birthday, ha!) with a side of a fast food lunch and little to no exercise because you’ve seen how you age when you care for yourself that way. You’ve seen how your body changes and becomes more sensitive. I can hardly even eat cheeses or most dairy products now without my body breaking out in hives and my throat closing! Our bodies become more sensitive to what is good or not-so-good as we age; to keep looking our best incorporating healthy meals and daily exercise is important. Trust me, I’m pretty petite and enjoy junk food.. but all of a sudden the combination was very apparently affecting how I felt and looked much faster than in my 20s. What I eat today affects my body much faster than it did as a younger woman. I can even tell how it affects my mood and energy quicker than that.

3. Explore yourself.

Similar to #1, find your purpose in life, what means most to you and find a way to do it. For instance one of my purposes is to inspire others to live a happier, creative life and I carry this online, in my family, in my work. Even just at home I spend a lot of my time doing crafty things with the kids, connecting with them and doing art journal projects. My spouse is a contemporary realism painter and when I am able to encourage him and give him more availability to work I am doing this. My other purpose is to LOVE love love with no reservations and this is something you can do no matter what you do for a living or where you are. You can donate to the needy, save animals from dying in shelters, so many options of things that are unrelated to your location, family, job, etc but the goal is ultimately to find your purpose and live it in every way. Start small and allow it to affect your whole life. When you’re living for your purpose you will feel it.

4. Know that personal style is ageless.

I am one of those women that doesn’t believe you have to change your style as you age. If you see me out and about you’ll think I’m a teen (until I get wrinkles I suppose) and be shocked to know I am married with children and a professional career. Does that mean I dress inappropriately for work? No. I do dye my hair pink, wear bunnies, frilly skirts and rainbows galore. I cannot stand reading articles (I saw a lot when writing this) that explain how women need to “dress their age” because that is different for everyone. If you love it and it makes you feel beautiful, wear it. If people don’t like it they probably aren’t good for your spirit.

amber renee

5. Family growth.

You always hear that around 30 your biological clock ticks louder.. Some women who didn’t ever want babies suddenly are warming up to the idea. Is this because they feel a time crunch or because they want to experience mother hood? Have a baby is a huge amount of responsibility, it’s the hardest and most rewarding job there is. Let alone having more than one. However if that is your dream you’ll probably hold that as important to you prior to turning 30. If you’re having babies because you feel like you should, don’t. Having a child requires you to be 100% in and even then it will be very hard some days. If you don’t want kids, embrace it. Don’t ever feel like you need to do something because you’re “supposed” to want to. I always wanted a child and fawned over the Cosby family.. low and behold I have 4 kids and it works for me; I’m extremely happy. I even consider having another sometimes. Would it work for you? I don’t know. I’ve met equal amounts of women who are drowning in their decision for a big family.

I don’t care how cliche it is, I will always adore this movie and it is one of the very few chick flicks I actually own (the other one is Riding in Cars With Boys which is good too). Plus it has Mark Ruffalo in it.


Freaking Out About Turning 30? @ The Guardian
What to Own Before You Turn 30 @ Harper’s Bazaar
Why No Woman Should Ever Be Scared of Turning 30 @ She Does the City
Quotes from Celebrities on Age @ POPSUGAR
22 Books Every Woman Needs to Read @ The Frisky